This article was put together in collaboration with Expedia.com
Golden palaces shimmer under a tropical sun with street vendors selling tasty dishes for only a few baht. Entranced with a fascinating culture that is truly unique, while boasting one of the most infamous nightlife scenes around. Both modern and ancient, and always interesting, there is no other place on earth quite like Bangkok.
The capital of Thailand has become one of the most popular gateways to Asia, with over 13 million “farangs” visiting the bustling city every year. No trip to Southeast Asia is complete without at least a few days spent exploring the sights. With so many amazing options for accommodation in Bangkok to make your stay memorable, it’s for sure to become one of your favourite cities.
Here is a list of the 10 best things to do in Bangkok.
Also known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha”, Wat Pho was originally built in the 17th century and has been restored and altered by numerous kings since its construction. Today Wat Pho is spread out over 20 acres and houses over one thousand Buddha images. By far the most famous (and impressive) structure is the Reclining Buddha, which is an enormous 46m long and 15m high. Adorned in gold leaf and mother-of-pearl inlays, it is a sight that will stay with you forever.
Khao San Road
Alex Garland described Khao San Road as the “centre of the backpacking universe” in his iconic novel The Beach, and after spending a few minutes on the bustling street it is easy to see why. Travel agents, cheap accommodation, delicious street food and popular bars line Khao San Road, with travellers wandering up and down in either a boozy haze, or in constant awe of their surroundings. Tattoos, fried insects, peddlers, buckets, you could never get bored on this 1km stretch of chaos. Whether you love it or hate it, soaking up the atmosphere on Khao San Road is still one of the best things to do in Bangkok.
From 1782 right through to 1925, the Grand Palace was the official residence for the Kings of Siam, and today it is Bangkok’s most celebrated landmark. Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and surrounded by four towering walls, the Grand Palace is a sprawling complex boasting a collection of temples, offices, courtyards, gardens and halls. Don’t miss out on Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), which is the most sacred temple in the entire country. Allow at least a few hours to properly explore the Grand Palace, and make sure you have plenty of space on your camera for photos!
When the hustle and bustle of Bangkok is getting to be too much, head to Lumpini Park – the 142-acre green space in the middle of the city. Locals and foreigners alike roam around the grounds, soaking up the serenity that is hard to find anywhere else in Bangkok. Whether you want to take a boat ride on the large artificial lake, run a few laps through the trees or join in on a dance fitness class, you will always find some great way to pass the time in Lumpini Park.
Standing 70m tall over the Chao Phraya River opposite Wat Pho, Wat Arun is completely unique compared to the other ancient architecture found in Bangkok. Built in the 17th century, one of the best highlights of the “Temple of the Dawn” is being able to climb its steep spires for unparalleled views of the city. The structures are made with intricate craftsmanship, and are lit up brightly when night falls.
Experiencing The Nightlife
There is a lot to see and do in Bangkok, but no trip to the Thai capital would be complete without at least one night out on the town! While Bangkok does host a huge number of go-go bars and strip clubs in pockets like Soi Cowboy, Patpong and Nana Plaza, there is a lot more to the scene than just ping pong shows. All over the city are chilled pubs, pumping nightclubs, boutique cocktail lounges and rooftop bars. If live music is your thing then head to Iron Fairies on Thong Lor.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
If you are looking to buy some souvenirs, jewellery or new clothes, then Bangkok is the place to do it; and there is no better shopping than at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Over 8000 stalls spread out on 35 acres makes this the largest market in the entire country. Everything is separated into 27 sections to help with navigating the sprawling complex, but half the fun is just getting lost in the narrow alleyways. Be sure to brush up on your negotiating skills, and always keep an eye on your belongings.
Close to the Dusit Zoo is one of Bangkok’s most special attractions. The Vimanmek Mansion is the former royal palace of King Rama V and is the largest golden teakwood mansion in the entire world. Built in 1900, the Vimanmek Mansion is a marvellous museum complete with antique furniture, memorabilia, paintings and old photographs.
Not for the squeamish, the Forensic Museum in Bangkok is one of the creepiest places in the entire city. Here you can cast your eyes on preserved specimens of babies born with genetic disorders, fetuses, corpses of people who have been murdered or died in accidents and other such grotesque examples. This is not the kind of thing that would entice everyone, but if you are looking for a truly unique thing to do in Bangkok, or just want to gross yourself out for the day, then the Forensic Museum is the place to do it.
It’s not just the streets that are a hive of activity – In Bangkok even the rivers and canals are full of life! The floating markets around Bangkok have become a bit of a tourist attraction in recent years, but this doesn’t make the experience any less worthwhile. Fruits, vegetables and spices are sold by smiling Thai ladies rowing narrow boats, surrounded by teakwood houses. Some of the best floating markets such as Lam Phaya, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduan are actually a bit outside of the city, so take local transport, rent a driver or book a tour to visit them.
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